Looking to host or attend a retreat anytime soon? Hoping to find a retreat venue that hosts a variety of team-building and personal development activities? This article has got you covered with some of the best retreat centers around the world.
Nowadays, it’s more difficult than ever to unplug from the daily stresses of life. We are constantly connected to everyone and everything – which is great (at times), but it makes it hard to fully disconnect and recharge. Even traveling to faraway places doesn’t make it easy to escape our busy lives online. This has led to a rise in another way of traveling: through wellness retreats and other intentional getaways.
From yoga and meditation retreats to general wellness and personal development ones, there’s truly a retreat for everyone. You’ll find amazing retreat facilities all over the globe— in tropical rainforests, rustic mountain settings, and everywhere in between. Some retreat centres are luxurious while other venues are cheap (or free altogether). No matter the retreat location, you’re all but guaranteed a transformational experience.
Whether you’re looking to host or attend a retreat, keep reading. Here are the top 10 coolest retreat centers in the world in 2022.
Read also: Most Unique Wellness Retreats
You may also like: Top Reasons to Go on a Retreat
What is a retreat center?
Before jumping into all the unique retreat centers out there, let’s first define what they are.
A retreat center is a facility that provides lodging and meeting spaces for people seeking an intentional getaway. There are many kinds of retreat spaces out there, including camp venues, spiritual sanctuaries, conference centers, and residential buildings. Retreat centers provide a safe space to detach from your familiar surroundings and learn (and grow) with like-minded people.
Traditionally, there were two main types of retreat centers: spiritual retreat centers and conference centers. However, in recent years, other kinds of retreats have grown in popularity, including those with a focus on mental and physical health, emotional trauma, and addiction. Wellness resorts and spas are also on the rise, making up the fastest-growing sector in the travel industry.
Additionally, retreat centers offer recreational activities, social activities, and workshops. This includes modalities like yoga, grounding, meditation, ice baths, breathwork, sound healing, clean and healthy eating, networking, and other activities.
Going on an intentional trip to a retreat center will help you feel refreshed and recharged. Whether you’re seeking retreats for individuals, couples, small groups, or companies, there are so many retreat spaces to choose from.
Are you planning to host a retreat in the near future? Read below to see why you should rent a retreat venue rather than an Airbnb. If you’re not a prospective retreat host, feel free to skip the next section.
Reasons to rent a retreat center versus an Airbnb
For event planners looking to start their own retreat, it can be challenging to find the right venue. Some retreat hosts choose to stay at Airbnbs or Vrbo rentals while others seek more traditional retreat centers for rent. Here are some reasons why renting an overnight retreat center is a better option than a vacation rental.
1. Retreat centers offer dedicated spaces for activities (i.e. yoga studios, dining rooms, classrooms, swimming pools, workout rooms, etc.). Most Airbnbs, on the other hand, do not have these amenities.
2. Retreat centers typically have a dedicated staff, including cooks and facilitators. This means that retreat hosts don’t have to focus as much on logistics or hiring outside help.
3. The business model for retreat centers incentivizes them to keep good rapport with retreat hosts. Airbnb or Vrbo hosts can sometimes cancel at the last minute, which never occurs with retreat centers.
From lodges and ranches to resorts and convention centers, here are some of the top retreat locations around the world.
Best small retreat centers
Here are the top retreat venues that can accommodate small and mid-sized groups.
1. Imiloa Institute
Location: Savegre de Aguirre, Costa Rica
Immerse yourself in the rainforest from this incredible retreat center in Costa Rica. Out of all the retreats I’ve been on, the Imiloa Institute will forever hold a special place in my heart. It offers everything you’ll want in a wellness retreat, including plant-based cuisine, spaces for workshops, yoga, and other modalities, and even a saltwater pool and cold immersion tubs overlooking the ocean.
This unique retreat center features luxurious accommodations, including bungalows with outdoor tubs and geodomes on the river. It accommodates all kinds of retreats, including spiritual, yoga, meditation, plant-based medicines, and other signature retreats. If you’re looking for a transformational experience like no other, this beautiful retreat center in Costa Rica should be at the top of your bucket list!
2. Esalen Institute
Location: Monterey County, California
Nestled on the coastal cliffs of the Big Sur, Esalen Institute is another top retreat center. It’s set on a 100-acre stretch of land offering a rustic feel that you won’t find anywhere else. The specialties here include spirituality, mindset modalities, body work, plant-based medicine, leadership, and so much more.
Esalen offers weekend and weeklong workshops, as well as self-guided explorations for retreat participants. It’s been around for over 50 years, making it one of the most reliable and famous retreat venues out there. Bob Dylan, Deepak Chopra, and Ansel Adams have attended (and led) workshops here. So, you can bet that the experience is lifechanging.
If you’re drawn to nature, it truly doesn’t get any better than this retreat location in Northern California. From the beautiful remote setting to the soaking tubs, gardens, and organic farm overlooking the ocean, Esalen is the ultimate retreat center in 2022.
3. Gaia Retreat Center
Location: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Set in the iconic rice fields of Bali, Indonesia, the Gaia Retreat Center is truly paradise on Earth. It’s your typical Bali retreat center, offering a taste of tropical island life and mind and body activities. However, what sets it apart is the staff, which goes above and beyond to create memorable experiences every day.
At Villa Gaia, the curated group programs range from spiritual and meditation retreats to health and wellness retreats. From the world-class treatments to the healthy local food and detox program, you can bet that you’ll leave a different person than you came.
In addition to the picturesque setting, Gaia Retreat Center has top-notch amenities, including an onsite massage room, hot tubs, infrared sauna, and a chlorine-free pool, all overlooking the UNESCO-designated rice terraces of Bali. If you’re looking to up your vibration, this retreat venue in Bali has got you covered!
4. Pura Vida Wellness Retreat
Location: Yelapa, Mexico
Looking to reconnect with nature in a stunning tropical setting? The Pura Vida Wellness Retreat in Yelapa, Mexico is calling your name. It offers some of the most beautiful accommodations on the ocean imaginable, as well as communal dining and gathering spaces that are ideal for small group retreats.
Pura Vida specializes in yoga and mindfulness retreats, spiritual/healing retreats, and musical/dance groups. However, given Pura Vida’s mission to holistic health, there is truly something for everyone here.
5. Wonderland Healing Center
Location: Surat Thani, Thailand
For yogis and meditation junkies, it doesn’t get any better than this top retreat center in Thailand. Wonderland Healing Center is set in a beautiful tropical setting, making it easy to relax and enjoy a holistic way of living.
Some of the central themes at this retreat location are plant-based diets, detoxing and fasting, ancient yoga and meditation, and more. There are 40 rooms and private villas on the property, as well as an outdoor pool, herbal steam sauna, and yoga studios. This makes Wonderland Healing Center ideal for small, intimate groups.
Enjoy the serene, lush landscape. Partake in the ancient practices of yoga and meditation. It’s easy to see why this is among the best small retreat centers in the world.
6. Cliffs of Moher Retreat
Location: Co. Clare, Ireland
Craving a yoga or meditation retreat in the countryside? Immerse yourself in a weekend getaway at the Cliffs of Moher Retreat. It’s set in one of the most beautiful locations in Ireland imaginable, boasting a backdrop of the Cliffs of Moher and Atlantic Ocean. What more could you want in an epic retreat location?
This retreat facility specializes in luxury yoga retreats. However, they also offer other types of alternative modalities, including cold water immersion led by Wim Hof instructors. Take a journey on one of their retreats or create your own. It won’t be long until you see why this is a top retreat center rental.
Top large retreat centers
Here are the best retreat venues in 2022 that can accommodate larger groups.
7. Castello di Ristonchi
Location: Pelago, Italy
Situated in the rolling hills of Tuscany, the Castello di Ristonchi is a Tuscan Castle like no other. It’s 1,000 years old and is set in an ancient village surrounded by forest and olive trees. The Tuscan castle hosts all types of big events, including corporate retreats, weddings, artist/farm residencies, family reunions, and other leisure or corporate getaways.
Ristonchi Castle has 30 private bedrooms, which can accommodate up to 90 guests. Some activities onsite include a food and wine program, pasta and pizza making, and nature walks. There’s an onsite retreat planner, who helps organize the meals, activities, and workshops for your party. Is this one of the best retreat center rentals? Absolutely!
8. Jordan Ranch Retreat Center
Location: Schulenburg, Texas
For large groups such as corporations and Christian-based organizations, the Jordan Ranch Retreat Center is a solid place to host a retreat. It’s located on an 88-acre property with over 34,000 sq. ft. of retreat center space. The venue offers 2 large conference rooms, several small breakout rooms, dining halls, and more than 100 beds. This makes it a top choice for company outings, church retreats, youth events, and even large family gatherings.
In addition to all the typical retreat center amenities, you’ll find some unconventional activities here. This includes hatchet throwing, paintball, ziplining, horseback riding, and more.
Having been around for over 11 years, Jordan Ranch Retreat Center is a reliable retreat space that serves many kinds of communities. It’s no wonder it’s among the top large retreat centers in 2022.
9. Berkshire Retreat Center
Location: Rensselaer County, New York
For a summer camp experience like no other, do a retreat at the Berkshire Retreat Center in Upstate NY. Here, you’ll have your own private resort, which is worlds apart from a hotel or conference center.
Treat your family and close friends to a week of yoga, field sports, swimming, campfires, and beach parties. Berkshire Retreat Center is located on a 100+ acre resort which makes it perfect for corporate retreats, school groups, and everyone in between. It accommodates up to 500 guests in cabins, lodges, and other guesthouses throughout the property. This makes it one of the top large retreat venues in the USA.
10. Art of Living Retreat Center
Location: Boone, North Carolina
Looking to rent a retreat center in nature? Art of Living Retreat Center is a popular choice. It’s nestled on 380 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a picture-perfect setting for corporate, meditation, and wellness retreats.
The Art of Living Retreat Center has on-campus housing that can accommodate 1,000 guests. There’s also enough space on the premise to fit more than 1,000 more. The main focuses of the event venue are meditation, Ayurveda wellness programs, yoga, and nutrition. If you’re in search of a top-notch retreat location near Boone, NC, then this one is for you!
More on these top retreat facilities around the globe
Hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing retreat venues in the US and around the world. There are so many beautiful and unique camps to choose from, that the search can get a bit overwhelming. Have you ever stayed at an overnight retreat center? Let me know, as I’m always looking to add to this list of the best yoga retreat centers!